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Lawrence J. Laurenzi

Of Counsel
Memphis
T: 901.577.2207
F: 901.577.2303

Larry Laurenzi concentrates his practice in government enforcement and investigations and holds more than 35 years' experience with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Tennessee.

Professional Biography

Overview

A member of the Government Enforcement and Investigations Group, Mr. Laurenzi holds more than 35 years of experience with the U.S. Department of Justice for the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Tennessee, including an appointment as U.S. Attorney from 2008 – 2010. On three other occasions, Mr. Laurenzi was appointed the Acting U.S. Attorney (2000 – 2001, 2006 – 2007, and 2017). After beginning his career serving as a trial attorney, he went on to serve as criminal chief for ten years before becoming First Assistant U.S. Attorney, where he served for 16 years. In these positions, Mr. Laurenzi maintained a significant caseload of civil and criminal cases, and gained significant jury trial experience in federal district court. He handled litigation in complex criminal cases, as well as qui tam and affirmative civil litigation.

As a senior trial attorney, Mr. Laurenzi was responsible for managing the litigation and regulatory affairs of the U.S. in West Tennessee. He actively engaged in both civil and criminal litigation, concentrating on a variety of cases that include white collar fraud, tax fraud, public corruption, civil rights, affirmative civil enforcement, and defensive torts. He has tried more than 100 jury trials and has been recognized on numerous occasions by local law enforcement and the Department of Justice for his work.

Mr. Laurenzi also worked as an adjunct professor for the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, serving as instructor for a trial advocacy course from 2012 – 2017.

Representative Matters
  • Lead counsel for the Western District of Tennessee into corruption and financial abuse in the federally subsidized "childcare industry." After a two-year investigation and a five-week trial, principals for overseeing the federally funded program were found guilty and sentenced to prison.

  • Lead counsel with the Securities and Exchange Commission into the investigation and prosecution of a registered investment advisor. Defendant pled guilty to multiple counts of securities violations and was sentenced to prison.

  • Lead trial counsel in the investigation and prosecution of the principals of a commodities firm with offices in Tennessee and Colorado. After a six-week trial, the president and CEO, his two sons and daughter-in-law, were found guilty for their involvement in a $20 million investment fraud.

  • Successfully prosecuted a California medical device company in qui tam action brought against it for making "kickbacks" to physicians for using the companies' medical equipment. Substantial recovery for the plaintiff under the False Claims Act.

  • Obtained a favorable settlement for the plaintiff in a False Claims Act case against a local dermatologist for up-coding for services provided to Medicare and Medicaid patients.

  • International investigation into the a federal agriculture program. Three-year investigation into illegally obtained subsidies by American exporters of cotton to Asian countries. Investigation resulted in multiple settlements under the False Claims Act, as well as criminal convictions.

  • Lead counsel in a medical malpractice case against a urologist for failure to diagnose prostate cancer timely. The case settled the day of trial for a nominal sum.

  • Lead counsel in the prosecution of the owner and chairman of the board of a bank for his involvement in illegal banking transactions, which lead to the failure of the bank. Worked extensively with FDIC in the investigation and prosecution of the bank owner and others.

  • Lead counsel in the prosecution of the president of a bank in Tennessee. Charges arose out of lending improprieties that resulted in substantial losses that led to the bank's sale under FDIC supervision.

  • Lead counsel in a wrongful death action brought against the "Veteran Administration" for negligent care received by a patient in the emergency room. Treatment in the emergency room resulted in the death of the patient. Case settled two weeks before trial for substantially less than demanded in the civil complaint.

  • Lead counsel in a month-long trial against deputy jailers at a Tennessee county jail. Ranking officers in the jail were convicted of unjustifiably beating inmates housed at the facility. The jailers retaliated against the inmates for an assault on a fellow deputy jailer.

  • Convicted lead singer of a music group on multiple counts of defrauding aspiring singers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Defendant used his connection to the music industry, as well as his church affiliations, to persuade aspiring artists to pay for what they believed were recording and promotion contracts. 

  • Lead counsel in a contested jury trial against defendant for intentionally setting fire to a local church located in Shelby County, Tennessee. Two firefighters lost their lives battling the blaze. The trial required extensive expert testimony concerning the fire's causation. Defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment.

  • Successfully tried and convicted a Tennessee county deputy sheriff for the murder of a young man during his arrest. Case required extensive expert testimony on the cause of death and police practices during arrest.​​

  • Convicted a defendant of multiple counts of sex trafficking minors after an eight-day jury trial. Defendant was found guilty of recruiting girls from local high schools, some as young as 15-years-old, to engage in commercial sex acts.

  • Lead counsel in the prosecution of a teacher for his violation of the civil rights of students and faculty of a private school. Defendant defaced a Torah and other religious items, while the students were staying at a hotel in Jackson, Tennessee. The case raised a legal issue of whether a hotel conference room is a "place of worship" under the civil rights statute.

  • Lead prosecutor in the investigation and prosecution of a Tennessee county sheriff. The sheriff pled guilty to public corruption charges and was sentenced to prison.

  • Lead counsel in the investigation and prosecution of an assistant athletic director at a state university. Kevin Grothe pled guilty to Misappropriation of Government Funds and was sentenced to prison.

  • Lead counsel into the investigation and prosecution of a record promoter for bribery to multiple radio stations across the country to play the music by artist he represented. After week-long trial, defendant was found guilty and sentenced to prison.

  • Represented an international manufacturing company in a criminal investigation of fraud with no prosecution.

Professional Honors & Activities
  • Recipient – Director's Award for Sustained Superior Performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney
  • Recipient – National Director's Award for excellence in litigation, Department of Justice
  • Recipient – Department of Agriculture Group Honor Award for series of complex fraud investigations in the Upland Cotton Domestic User/Exporter Program
  • Recipient – Letter of Commendation for trial work, Attorney General Richard Thornburgh
  • Recipient – Letter of Commendation, Attorney General Janet Reno
  • Recipient – Sustained Superior Performance Awards, Department of Justice
  • Recipient – Special Act Awards, Department of Justice and federal agencies
  • Legal Evaluator and Reviewer – Department of Justice
  • Fellow – American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Chair – Tennessee Dangerous Drug Task Force (2009 – 2017)
  • Board Member – Alliance for Drug Endangered Children
  • Member – Tennessee Bar Association
  • Member – Memphis Bar Association
  • Fellow – Memphis Bar Foundation
  • Member – Lawyer's Journal Club
  • Member – National  Association of Former United States Attorneys (NAFUSA) 
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Commercial Litigation (2020)
Speaking Engagements
  • "Federal Government Enforcement and Investigations," 26th Annual Criminal Practice Seminar, Atlanta, Georgia (February 2019)
  • "Legal Issues that Arise When Criminal and Civil Litigation Intersect," Federal Bar Association, Memphis/Mid-South Chapter (October 2018)

Awards

Education

  • University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, J.D., 1981
  • University of Memphis, B.A., 1978

Admissions

  • Tennessee, 1981
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee

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